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“Jason brings a significant breadth of skills to our department and his local ties to the wrestling community will serve our wrestling program extremely well,” said Guthrie. “His passion and strategic vision for Gator wrestling will enable our program to build on its rich tradition on and off the mat.”
Welch brings his technical acumen to San Francisco after having most recently serving as an assistant coach at NCAA Division I Northwestern, where he graduated with a major in English. The 2016 Olympic hopeful has also competed as an athlete in the 2014 World Team Trials and for the Chicago Regional Training Center and Titan Mercury Wrestling Club. Additionally, Welch served as head coach at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, and runs a series of prestigious wrestling camps.
“I am honored and grateful for this opportunity. I would like to thank President Wong, Charles Guthrie, and the entire search committee for trusting me with the future of SF State wrestling,” said Welch. “It has always been my dream to lead a program and to give back to the California wrestling community. I’m very excited for this next step and the chance to build on the program’s successful past.”
As a senior at Northwestern, Welch won a Big Ten championship and placed second at the NCAA championships, making him a three-time NCAA All-American. As a redshirt junior, he was invited to wrestle at the 46th NWCA All-Star Classic and placed fourth for All-American honors. Welch won the famed 49th Midlands tournament hosted by Northwestern and led his squad to its highest team place at the tournament with a second-place finish. As a redshirt sophomore, Welch qualified for the NCAA tournament again and placed sixth to earn All-American honors. Welch started as a true freshman and qualified for the NCAA Wrestling National Championship Tournament.
“Jason was one of the most exciting wrestlers to ever don the purple singlet, and it was an honor to coach him for most of his collegiate and senior campaigns,” said Northwestern Head Coach Matt Storniolo, who was an assistant who worked closely with Welch during his All-American days. “He was a fierce competitor and I expect him to be no different in his new role. We wish him the best of luck.”
The Walnut Creek, California native inherits a Gators program that went 64-78 over the last decade. He takes over from San Francisco State alumnus Lars Jensen, a member of both the California Wrestling Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Jensen led the Gators to the program’s only NCAA Division II National Championship in 1997.
Welch attended Las Lomas High School, where he lettered in wrestling, soccer, and football, but it was on the mat where he began to make a name for himself. En route to four finals and three state championships, Welch amassed 119 consecutive victories and an overall win-loss record of 194-7. He was awarded the Dan Hodge Trophy, given to the best-all around high school senior in the country.
Last season, the Gators placed sixth at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships. Two Gator wrestlers were named to the Division II All-Academic Wrestling Team and to the RMAC Wrestling Honor Roll. SF State sponsors 12 sports including men and women’s soccer, men and women’s basketball, men and women’s cross country, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, baseball, softball, women’s volleyball, and men’s wrestling.